New Delhi, April 22 (PTI): The Supreme Court on Friday expressed its displeasure over a Delhi Police affidavit which said “no hate speech was made” during an event held here by a right-wing outfit, and wondered whether the officer who filed the document had applied his mind or merely reproduced the inquiry report.
Posing searching questions, the court also directed the police to file a “better affidavit” after which additional solicitor general (ASG) K M Nataraj, appearing for the Delhi Police, said they will have a “re-look” of the matter and file a fresh affidavit.
The Delhi Police had told the top court that “no specific words against any community were uttered” at the event organised by the ‘Hindu Yuva Vahini’ on December 19 last.
“The affidavit has been filed by the deputy commissioner of police. We hope he has understood the nuances. Has he merely reproduced the inquiry report or applied his mind? Is it your stand as well or the reproduction of inquiry report of sub-inspector level officer?” a bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and Abhay S Oka asked.
The bench questioned can such a stand be taken on an affidavit before the court and wanted to know who verified the affidavit and if Delhi Police was accepting it as a correct finding.
“The ASG seeks time to get instructions from authorities to file a better affidavit… Two weeks time prayed for. List this matter on May 9. Better affidavit be filed on or before May 4,” it said.
The top court was hearing a petition filed by journalist Qurban Ali and former Patna High Court judge and senior advocate Anjana Prakash, who has also sought a direction for an “independent, credible and impartial investigation” by an SIT into incidents of hate speeches against the Muslim community.
As the hearing commenced, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the petitioners, drew the attention of the bench towards extracts of the speech and the enquiry report of the sub inspector (PS Okhla Industrial Area).
“The counter affidavit of the Delhi Police says an inquiry has been conducted and that the persons had gathered to ‘save ethics of their community’
“In the speech in question, they say, ‘We are ready to kill’! And the Delhi Police says it is to ‘save the ethics of the community? Your Lordships may fix it for hearing and decide what constitutionally the ethics are…” Sibal said.
The court then asked the ASG if any senior officer has verified the affidavit.
“Some superior officer has seen it? Who has verified it? Has there been an application of mind as to if this stand can be taken on affidavit before the court? This affidavit is filed by the deputy commissioner of police? He accepts this position?
“Is this his understanding or only a reproduction of IO’s report? We want to understand from you the affidavit filed before this court by the deputy commissioner of police, a senior officer,” it said.
The apex court then asked the ASG if the Delhi Police was accepting it as a correct finding?
“This is the reproduction of the inquiry report prepared by a sub-inspector level officer or is it your stand? If it is so, then we have to ask the commissioner of police to look into it if this is your stand also?”
In a counter-affidavit filed in the apex court, the Delhi Police had said the petitioners had not approached them for taking any action in connection with the alleged incident and have directly moved the top court and such a practice must be deprecated.
It said that on the same subject matter, some complaints were lodged alleging that a hate speech was made at an event organised here by the ‘Hindu Yuva Vahini’ on December 19 last year and all those complaints were consolidated and an inquiry was initiated.
After a deep enquiry was conducted and the contents of the video were evaluated, the police did not find any substance in the video as per the allegation levelled by the complainants, the affidavit added.
It said the police, after carrying out a preliminary inquiry on the complaints and after examining the video link and attached video in respect of the alleged hate speech delivered at Delhi, found that no such words as mentioned by the complainant in his complaint have been used.
The affidavit further said “no hate” was expressed in the event at Delhi against any group, community, ethnicity, religion, or faith, and that the speech was about empowering one’s religion to prepare itself to face the evils which could endanger its existence, which is not even remotely connected to a call for genocide of any particular religion.